Where do ladybirds go in winter?

Some insects have short lives but ladybirds live for a remarkably long time, or at least have the potential to. The potential lifespan of a ladybird is two to three years. Being beetles they undergo a metamorphosis and I have shown their pupal stage (when they look like little crocodiles) and pupae before. But once an adult, the ladybird can survive two winters before it expires.

In autumn it has to find somewhere to spend the winter and that has to be somewhere sheltered and dry. They often hide in sheds or cracks and crevices in wood. Sometimes they hide in houses but this is not good because they will be too active and, without an aphid buffet, will starve. Although they do not strictly hibernate, they slow their metabolism and will ‘rest’ until warmth in March when they wake up and look for ‘companions’.

Ladybirds congregating on the sunny side of a stone pillar in winter snow

In fact, they often rest in large groups, attracted to each other in autumn with pheromones. Apart from leaving old seedheads for them and making bug hotels, I have found that neatly clipped evergreens such as conifers and box offer perfect accommodation. Box seems especially appreciated and I wonder if it is the box sucker that is always present, that provides an early meal when they wake from their slumber.

Ladybirds clustered under an old rose flower

4 Comments on “Where do ladybirds go in winter?”

  1. Mitzy Bricker
    January 4, 2022 at 11:29 am #

    Interesting! Great photo of them under the dried flower! Happy New Year.

    Blue Rock Horses Frederick County, Virginia bluerockhorses.com

  2. Paddy Tobin
    January 4, 2022 at 1:54 pm #

    It is always interesting to come on a group in midwinter or to lift a stone and find some dozen/s of snails.

    • thebikinggardener
      January 4, 2022 at 4:56 pm #

      I would rather find a group of ladybirds than snails, or slugs

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